Hand Dryer Position Explained (Height, Distance, etc.)

When fitting a bathroom there are a lot of aspects to consider – how many cubicles, the placement of the sinks, and, the placement of your hand dryers.

If you’re about to fit a hand dryer in your bathroom it’s important to know what the regulations are and what variables affect them.

In this article, we take a look at the specific heights and distances you’ll need to know when installing your hand dryer.

What Is Important About Hand Dryer Placement:

The placement of a hand dryer should be governed by certain factors, such as:

  • What type of hand dryer is being installed.
  • The IP rating of the model.
  • Who the hand dryer is intended for – Adults, children, disabled persons, etc.
  • The amount of footfall expected within the bathroom.

Woman hands dries wet hand in modern vertical hand dryer in public restroom WC

How High Should You Have A Hand Dryer?

Understanding what should be the appropriate height for a hand dryer comes down to two main factors; what type of hand dryer you are installing, and who the hand dryer will be most commonly used by.

There are two main types of hand dryers:

  1. Conventional blow-down hand dryers
  2. Blade hand dryers

As these two hand dryers have different designs, it makes sense for them to have different mounting heights, so when looking to find what height you should install a hand dryer it is best to know which type it is.

The conventional blow-down hand dryers were designed with the idea of drying hands that are placed directly underneath the airflow vent at the base of the product.

The suggested heights for blow-down hand dryers are listed below in relation to the age and sex of the person.

The measurement is taken from the base of the hand dryer to the floor.

  • Adult Males: 46”/ 1170mm
  • Adult Females: 41”/ 1120mm
  • Children aged 4-7: 32”/ 810mm
  • Children aged 7-10: 36”/ 910mm
  • Children aged 10-13: 40”/ 1020mm
  • Children aged 13-17: 44”/ 1120mm

Blade hand dryers are a slightly more modern design and allow users to place their hands inside a high-powered air stream.

The suggested heights for blade hand dryers are listed below.

Do note that the measurement is taken from the floor to the top of the hand dryer unit.

  • Adult Males: 41”/ 1050mm
  • Adult Females: 38”/ 975mm
  • Children (all ages): 34.5”/ 875mm

More consideration should be considered when installing a hand dryer intended for use by disabled people.

How Much Distance Between The Sink & Hand Dryer?

When installing a hand dryer it is important to consider the distance between the dryer unit and the sink, not just because of the convenience for the user, but also for safety reasons.

As a general rule of thumb, hand dryers should be installed no less than 60cm (0.6m) from a sink or any other water source, however, it can be more complex than this.

It is essential for those installing hand dryers to have an understanding of IP ratings.

Each hand dryer will have a different IP rating which will determine the exact safe distance the unit can be installed from a water source.

This distance is intended to reduce the risk of electrical shocks occurring whilst in use.

IP (Ingress Protection) ratings are a way of classifying how ‘sealed’, and therefore how safe, electrical equipment is from things like grit, dust, and moisture.

Ingress protection ratings are listed with the letters ‘IP’, followed by a two-digit number:

  • The first number identifies how protected the user is from the moving parts of the unit and how protected the unit is from the entry of external solid particles.
  • The second number is how protected the hand dryer is from the entry of external liquid sources.

Therefore, when understanding the safe placement of a hand dryer from a sink, the installer should pay attention to the second number (0-8) in its IP rating; the lower the second number, the lower the protection levels.

To put it simply, a rating of 0 means no protection from moisture whatsoever, and a rating of 8, means total protection from complete submersion.

How High Should A Hand Dryer Hang On Toilets For Disabled People?

Ensuring that everybody can easily access a hand dryer is a crucial aspect to consider before installation.

It is essential that people who have a disability can reach the hand dryer and that it is not mounted in a way that could create difficulties, or worse, risk an injury.

The DDA (The Disability Discrimination Act) should be adhered to when mounting and installing a hand dryer.

The DDA has set out specific measurements that will help you ensure that your hand dryer is in the correct position for disabled use.

  • Blow-down dryers need to be mounted at a height of 940mm.
  • Blade dryers need to be mounted at 875mm.

These measurements should be implemented to all features that are present in a disabled toilet.

It is worth noting, that in order for ease of access to the dryer, it should also be mounted more than 500mm from the corners of the room.

The DDA is a British standard, however, if you’re from the US, you’ll want to adhere to the rules set out by the ADA (The Americans with Disabilities Act).

Similarly, to the DDA, the ADA was created to prevent discrimination toward individuals with disabilities.

Their guidelines for bathrooms ensure that full access can be assured for people who may have difficulties using bathroom features if the placement is inconvenient or impossible to reach.

If you want to install your hand dryer so that it can comply with ADA then you need to keep the following in mind:

  • An ADA-approved hand dryer should always be fitted with a sensor that activates when it detects motion.
  • The hand dryer should be no more than 48 inches from the ground, but no lower than 38 inches.
  • It is also worth noting that it should not stick out too far into the room – 4 inches is the maximum distance it should protrude from any wall.

Ensuring that you meet these guidelines is not only ethical but is also a stipulated regulation under a civil rights law.

Abiding by these heights and distances will provide equal rights and prevent the chance of an injury occurring in your bathroom.

How Much Space Do Hand Dryers Require?

Each hand dryer will require a different amount of space according to the particular design of the unit.

The sizes of hand dryers can vary dramatically depending on the design style and the brand.

To know how much space your hand dryer will need, it is important to know the exact dimensions of the product you are installing.

Once you are aware of the dimensions, you will need to know its IP rating in order to calculate how much total space the hand dryer will take up.

For example, the Gorillo Blade Hand Dryer has a height of 685mm (68.5cm) and a width of 300mm (30cm).

It also has an IP rating of 4, meaning it can be installed within 60cm if need be.

This is, therefore, a hand dryer that requires much less space than others on the market.

What Is The Best Place To Put A Hand Dryer?

When placing a hand dryer, the installer must consider safety concerns such as the distance from any water sources, due to it being an electrical product.

They also have to consider the general layout of the room in order for it to function efficiently.

For example, nobody wants to have to use a hand dryer immediately behind a door, as when it opens, they may get a nasty bump.

Also, you don’t want the hand dryer so far away from the sink that you have to walk with dripping wet hands across a floor that experiences heavy footfall; a wet floor with lots of footfall could, unfortunately, result in slips and trips.

The best location for a hand dryer will involve the unit being placed:

  1. At a safe distance from the sink and toilet (at least 0.6m, unless the IP rating states otherwise).
  2. In a position that doesn’t cut through the general traffic of the room.
    • This is especially important with washrooms with a high footfall.
  3. Away from doorways and windows that could swing open.
  4. At least 1 meter from reflective surfaces.
    • Reflective surfaces reverberate sounds, meaning the hand dryer will be much louder when placed near a mirror or window.

Can Hand Dryers Go Above Sinks?

Whether you can place a hand dryer above a sink depends on the specific design of the hand dryer you wish to install.

Generally speaking, hand dryers should not be installed within 60cm of a free-flowing water source; but there are some exceptions.

There are certain hand dryers available that are actually designed to be safely placed above sinks.

Other hand dryers that aren’t designed for this purpose could be incredibly dangerous when installed in this position.

The benefits of above sink hand dryers are:

  1. They take up less space.
  2. Any excess water is blown directly into the sink, not onto the floor or walls, meaning less clear up.
  3. They improve the health and safety of users by reducing slippages on wet floors.
  4. They speed up the general hand washing and drying process, making them perfect for high-traffic washrooms such as airports and bars, etc.
  5. They look sleeker and more aesthetically pleasing by minimizing clutter in the room.

As you can see there are many benefits to installing an above-sink hand dryer, but remember, if you are looking to install a hand dryer above a sink you should always ensure the unit is fit for purpose.



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